When my oldest daughter Katie moved from her crib to her toddler bed, I spent the first few nights lying on the floor beside her bed with an arm draped over her to help her get settled in. She would continually ask for me to “snuggle” her and I was glad to respond as her dad. Some people would hear about this practice and inevitably “warn” me how once I started it she would never want it to stop, etc…as if that were a bad thing.
Fast forward about 6 years and I now have 2 daughters – Katie is 9, and Kenzie is 4. Both of them ask for snuggle time often, and I routinely find myself alternating from room to room every other night. Some nights we lie awake for 15-20 minutes and have deep discussions, and some nights they drift off to sleep immediately. These times are some of the most precious ones I have with my daughters.
I continue this practice for a couple of reasons – 1) I know there will come a day when not only will they not want dear old dad to snuggle with them but it will become inappropriate to do so; 2) I know there is huge power in the snuggle. The snuggle reinforces my love for them. The snuggle gives them the proper male affection they need right now. Hopefully the snuggle will build up in their love bank, and when a young man tries to entice them to snuggle in a way that harms them they will remember our times, and respond with a resounding “NO”. You see, there is power in the snuggle…power to let them know they are loved and they matter…power to reinforce to them the “type” of man they should one day seek. I am not perfect by any means, but when the day comes for them to choose a groom, or even someone just to go to the movies with I want them to have a clear image in their mind of how they are to be treated and valued. The snuggle is one part of that image.
For all you dads of daughters out there, give in to the snuggle. It just may be the one thing that prevents your daughter from snuggling with someone else at the wrong time…